Wednesday, December 18, 2013

File This Under Interesting...

by Savannah

It's still the silly season. Fans are posting soft porn pics of female tennis players while the PR machines for the men are busily posting pictures of various and sundry men practicing on hard courts or posting announcements that Player X is now back training. Officially.

Maria Sharapova gave an interview with claws barely concealed. The only thing interesting was that it took her and her team so long to craft a statement about the Connors fiasco that didn't include the words "IMG thought it was a good deal for Jimmy. He could get some scratch and I would get some publicity". Otherwise it's the same old same old.

Roger Federer and his agent, Tony Godsick, husband of ESPN commentator Mary Joe Fernandez have formed their own publicity firm. They've already got Juan Martin del Potro under contract. So this season when Mary Joe is praising some player you either never heard of or who doesn't have a snow balls chance in hell of winning the match they're playing don't think that she's playing up one of her husbands clients. She'd never do such a thing. After all that would be a conflict of interest and we all know that would never, ever, happen with ESPN's tennis coverage.

So if that's pretty much all the news why am I even posting this a few days before the Holidays? I think this will make it all clear.

Boris Becker via top news In. photo Boris-Becker_6_zps23eb3339.jpg
photo via Rajiv Dhoot top news in.

Novak Djokovic is turning to Boris Becker for help in 2014.

The second-ranked Serb said Wednesday that Becker will join his staff for next season as head coach.
"He is a true legend, someone who has great tennis knowledge and his experience will help me win new trophies from the Grand Slams and other tournaments," Djokovic said in a statement. "Becker is a great person, too, and I am sure he will fit in our team in the best possible way."

The 46-year-old Becker, a six-time Grand Slam champion, will travel with Djokovic and other coaches to tournaments, including next month's Australian Open.

Djokovic won his fourth Australian Open title last year and finished the 2013 season ranked No. 2 in the world behind Rafael Nadal.
Becker will join a coaching staff that also includes Marian Vajda, Miljan Amanovic and Gebhard Phil-Gritsch.
"I will do my best to help him reach his goals, and I am sure we can achieve great things together," said Becker, who became the youngest man to win Wimbledon when he was 17 in 1985.

Vajda, who has been working with Djokovic since 2006, said the Serb needed a new head coach to continue improving.
"Becker's assignment will not affect much my position in the team, since I will do all I can for Novak, just like I did before," Vajda said. "On the other hand, choosing Boris as the head coach is a good solution, I am sure we will get along very well, and that Novak will continue to progress."

See nothing happens in a vacuum. I was puzzled by Twitter posts a few days ago asking whether Andre Agassi or Pete Sampras had ever been approached about coaching a top player. Personally I don't think either man is cut out to be a coach and yes that could be personal bias. But the people posting were dead serious and went on. And on. And on. And just as suddenly the subject was dropped. Now I understand why the flurry of interest and faux rage about why they've never been publicly considered by anyone.

I guess the USTA has its panties in a bunch because no one really wants an ex American superstar to coach them. Todd Martin, who was never a superstar in the way Agassi and Sampras were was coaching for about a minute and that's been it. As for the women Martina Navratilova has expressed interest in coaching but if she has gotten feelers nothing has been made public.

So back to Boris. It's an interesting choice to say the least. Boris has stayed around the sport but has, to my knowledge never coached a player, let alone a top ten player.

Long time readers of this site know that I am not a fan of the man ranked #2 in the world but putting that aside what does Boris bring to the table other than a name? Is this another Jimmy Connors moment for Becker? It'll be interesting to see what changes he will have made in his charge going into Melbourne.


Karen said...

Savannah, just so you know, Mary-Joe will not be touting any players from the booth represented by Fed's agency. The only 2 tennis player that Team 8 will have is Fed and DelPo. The Agency will be representing athletes across all disciplines and it will only be 8 athletes hence the name Team 8.

As to conflicts of interest, surely you must realise by now that there are no indifferent interests in tennis. The sport is as incestuous as it comes. It would be nice to call all out all the incestuous relationships in tennis rather than just the one that poor Mary-Jo who seems to be the beating stick for everyone when the issue of conflict of interest is brought up.

Frankly, you need only look at TC and their ridiculous coverage as well as their commentary to realise that if you look up the term conflict of interest you will see TC's logo big and bold and don't get me started on Sports Illustrated's tennis section.

Professor Livermon's Blog said...

Thanks for your write up. I found the Sharapova interview to be nothing more than a PR puff-piece. I can't believe this passes for journalism in the NY Times. Despite this fact, she still came off in not the most flattering light. Not quite sure how that happens. Next year will be interesting. I am just not sure if Sharapova's game as it is currently configured is enough to get her back to the top regardless of her play versus Serena Williams. She is a fierce competitor and that counts for a lot in today's WTA. But I am not sure whether that will be enough anymore for her to consistently beat the top players.